Snow Cap | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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Snow CapSnow Cap
874 Ratings
Snow CapSnow Cap

Brewed by:
Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Washington, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Deep mahogany in color, our full-bodied winter warmer is brewed in the spirit of British winter ales. Crafted with a flurry of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, and generously hopped, it delivers a smooth finish that makes this beer the perfect cold weather companion.

Added by Jason on 11-11-2001

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Ratings: 874 |  Reviews: 510
Photo of jcalabre
2.45/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I originally sampled this beer on 29 December 2001. I am writing this review from my notes.
I found this beer to be a bit 'watered' down tasting an not very pleasant. I was pretty disappointed. I may try it again in the future since my experience was nothing like a lot of other people's

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Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.29/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light to medium head. Excellent combination of citrus and spice in the flavor. A very gentle overall taste, with just enough of a bite to comfort you on a cool evening. This is a very good, gonna have one beer and relax beer. A beer to be enjoyed sifted. Finishes with a coffee aftertaste.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2002. A deep mahogany body with reddish highlights is capped by a short but creamy light-tan head. It's retention is limited, and it drops shortly to a thin collar and leaves only minimal spotty lacing. The nose is not very welcoming, but not exactly off-putting. It clearly displays some higher alcohols with notes of acetone/solvent and acetaldehyde. I can only believe that the fermentation was hot and fast! Beyond that there's not much: some mild maltiness, light woody/earthy character, and maybe fading spices. Fortunately, a third strike is avoided as the higher alcohols are somewhat masked in a flavor that's malty and deeply toasted with a light spiciness and a firm, resiny hop flavor. The bitterness is well entrenched and also helps to cover up its "heat". Surprisingly, it finishes quite dry but with a spot of sweet caramelized malt. Some hop bitterness lingers, but the heat of the alcohol also starts to build at the back of the throat. Disappointing. I hope I didn't wait too long to try this. However, it has a good reputation and I'll give it another shot next year!

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought the 2001 was great, but the 2002 I would only call good.

2002 pours a dark brown, mahogany color with minimal tan head.
Aroma of heavily roasted malt, spice, and alcohol.

Taste follows the aroma. Heavily roasted malt, spice, and a nice hop bite that balances this one out. Alcohol seems more evident than I recall in the 2001.

Good body and mouthfeel.
Drinkability is good, but it's not as smooth as I recall the 2001 being.

Overall, a good beer that seems like it could use a little refinement.

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Photo of hyuga
3.92/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brownish-red brew with an off-white head. Head retention isn't great. Aroma is very malty, with intense caramel sweetness and toasted character. The taste is reminiscent of a doppelbock, but with lots of hops added. Sweet caramel and a little toasted malt at the front, followed by the unexpected rush of oily and leafy hop bitterness. Finish is a bit mellow, but still hoppy. Nice leafy aftertaste. Overall, this is a pretty good effort. I like the uniqueness of it.

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Photo of TXHops
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Original Gravity: 1.071
FG: 1.018
Calories/12 oz: 231
Real Extract: 6.73 P
Alcohol By Volume: 7.00%
Apparent Attenuation: 73.89
Malts: 2-Row Barley, Caramel, Chocolate Malt
Hops: Willamette, East Kent Goldings

Snow Cap pours a deep, deep ruby red, almost mahogany color with a medium-sized, relatively fast dissipating, almost white head. After 2 minutes, Snow Cap looks like flat coke—no head at all. The sour-apple aroma suggests over-ripened, almost rotten apples, of the sort left to sweeten and soften after being picked. There’s a lot more there than that though—I pick up cinnamon, dark brown sugar and some sort of wood, which I can’t quite put my finger on… The beer has the same sort of flavors, though it's hardly sour. The hops create a stiff bittering presence as counterpoint the apply maltiness, while still managing to have some citric, resiny, Pacific Northwest qualities. The full mouth feel is a little syrupy at times, and the finish is immensely long—like apples that have started to turn bad, and then been masked with cinnamon and sugar. All that is wrapped around a very prickly frame of intense carbonation. The long finish tastes intensely burnt, but hardly roasty—like over-caramelized sugar or perhaps molasses.

This beer ferments to an ABV of 7%, but still manages to taste like lots of the malt was left as sugar in the final product—perhaps even more than the 26% residual sugar... Perhaps the best way to describe Snow Cap's character is "green". Personally, it tastes to me like this beer could have been aged a bit more in the brewery, or even bottle conditioned to balance some of the flavors that seem to be competing with one and other instead of working together. The finish leaves a real warming presence from the alcohol, which isn’t very high, considering. It’s interesting really, as the final sensation that I’m left with is of having drunk a bit of mediocre scotch—that hot, peaty, malty, soggy flavor seems intent on living in my mouth until the toothbrush forcibly removes it.

This beer is a pretty good winter warmer (even if it does taste somewhat young), in a truly literal sense and I was able to almost enjoy my bottle in spite of my obvious pickiness. I think the most intriguing part of the beer was its odd intensity of competing flavors, each crying loudly for individual attention, then giving way to the next flavor, also crying loudly to be heard.

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Photo of zerk
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep amber with a thick foamy head that eventually settles. Leaves a little bit of lace on the glass. Aroma is malty... with caramel malt, a touch of cherry, spice, and alcohol. Flavor begins and ends with a lot of malt sweetness, with some accompanying spice, a slight astringent flavor, a touch of oak, some finishing bitterness, and a warming alcohol flavor. Has a full body with a syrupy mouthfeel. A bit heavy on the sweet malt for my tastes, but a decent winter warmer.

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Photo of maxpower
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark orange-copper color, huge foamy off white head, leaves a nice lace in the glass, malty caremel aroma, medium bodied with a light and watery mouthfeel. It does finish dry and crisp, not bad, drinkable.

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Photo of sinistersteve
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Of all the winter ale's I've had this season, this is probably only par. Nothing outstanding, but nothing that would make it undrinkable. Dark in color, full flavored. Not a lot of hop pressence. Decent enough to try once this seasonl, but chances are I'll find something else next time I go down the beer isle.

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Photo of bditty187
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkish reddish-brown, translucent around the edges, coppery highlights. Off-white head, fair retention, good lace. The nose was malty sweet with notes of citrusy hops. Alcohol is detectable. Very agreeable hoppiness, real malty body, excellent balance. This “winter warmer” does a commendable job at distinguish itself from the rest of the winter seasonal’s. Worthy of a try.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.07/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crusty tan head, deep dark brown in color. Aroma: full of dark, but sweet, sensations, espresso and dark chocolate first and foremost, also burnt toast and spices. Texture is a trifle grainy at first, but mellows soon. Then, the hop bite jumps into the fray! Slightly syrupy, but big carbonation, this seems different from when I had it in bottles last year. Has the feel of an extra-hoppy brown ale, or a super-charged porter. Very warming, and very satisfying!

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Photo of mjohn27603
3.26/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color certainly looks nice in the glass, a deep reddish brown tint that you can see straight through. Aroma doesn't leave much impression. Taste is slightly bitter with a high alcohol flavor and some medicinal quality. I don't think this one would taste good warmed up. Slight green wood flavor perhaps from the hops. I bought a single for $1.49. I'm pretty glad I didn't get a whole 6 pack. Bottle is 2002 edition best before 5/9/03. A little age might not be a bad thing for this one.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very good beer. If this is what Winter / Seasonal beers are coming to, I like it. This is a nice change of pace from the normal, spicey and fruity winter-type brews I am used to trying. This brew has a very respectable head that lingers, but is quite light. The aroma has some hint of spice, but again, very subtle. This is a drinkable seasonal. Enough said. Prost!

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Photo of Morris729
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark mahogany in color with a thin tan colored head. Nose is sweet roasted malts and lots of spice. Taste is tart apple cider, bitter chocolate and dark coffee, sweet caramel, and spice. A bit of a dry finish and the 7% alcohol makes this a nice winter warmer. This is one of the better winter brews I have tried.

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Photo of ADR
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep clear brown, minimal 1/8 inch head that reduces to a skim in 40 seconds. Nice smells, a slight sense of maple. Quickly, the flavor seems deep and slightly coffee-like with a little bit of mature raisins. The brew then turns more neutral with Goldings hops dominating the close. Pleasant, has some alcohol power and seems to be a decent offering from Pyramid. One of the better ones from this brewery and ranks pretty well among seasonals I’ve had this year.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very festive - dark ruby chestnut with a big goldings hops nose. Lots of malt backbone to this old ale to stand up to liberal hopping. A little thick on the mouthfeel, with herbal and dark fruit hints wafting about. Well worth including in the holiday ale lineup.

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Photo of putnam
4.33/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottles bears a 15th anniversary neck label and recommends drinking by 06/17/2002. Now its November. The label was bleached out from sitting in front of the flourescent lights in the cooler.

It exhibits a good, healthy, deep brown color. There is a sweet, coffee drenched nose with Doppelbock-like malt and spice aromas. Marshmallows and brown sugar appear.

On the palate it is actually pretty well attenuated. Could bottle age be responsible? No doubt there is a super-thick, creamy texture which carries slack flavors of coffee, charred hops, marischino cherries, cinnamon and tree bark.

A medium-length finish leaves a surge of bitter spice flavors that keeps the experience dry and focused.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear reddish copper color and the foam despated almost immediatley. The aroma was of a malty smell mixed with a hin of pine and alcohol. The taste was of a sort of sweet malt and alcolhol ending with a pleasant bitterness that was not to over powering. But the bitterness does linger on the palate for quit awhile!

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Photo of Gusler
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark brown color, monumental head, frothy with tons of lace, both light chocolate in color. Malt dominates the nose, lightly floral and perfume like sweetness. Start is mostly malt, the top a medium mouth feel, the finish hop spicy, mild to moderate carbonation, fairly dry aftertaste, a decent drinking beer, well worth a sample.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.64/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2001 (15th Anniv ed.) tasted 10/02:

Bronze/Bright Amber color with good tan lasting head. Strong spicy malt aroma and flavor. Full bodied and strong with alcohol character kicking in as it warms up...

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Photo of Bighuge
4.38/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice little brown head. Very dark brew. Very warming. Dry, cedary finish. There's toffee and mellow caramel notes. Hints of mocha also. Very nicely balanced brew. Strong too. Has been a staple in my winter beer selection for about 5 years now.

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Photo of John
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably Pyramid's best brew. Toasted grain aroma with essence of prune. Semi sweet full body. A nice winter seasonal and good all around changeup from the usual.

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Photo of ZAP
4.16/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

-Nice sweet English old ale style...mahogony in color...faint malt smell...bit of alcohol aroma towards the finish..not oversweet with nice hop balance... toasty grains evident with a bit of a dry finish...nicely balanced beer with a lot of character..

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Photo of BKotch
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is my favorite winter seasonal, bar none (even Celebration Ale). Sadly, Snowcap hasn't made it to Houston the last couple of years. A deep red-amber color, a perfect malt/hops balance, and at $5.80 a six-pack, it ties the late lamented Celis White for all-time beer bargain. I'm getting really worked up just writing about it. Bring it back!

2004 update. The above was written when the principal hops in Snowcap was Fuggles. The last few years, the beer has made it back to Houston, but now Pyramid is now using East Kent Golding. Less earthy, a little more piney, it just ain't the same. Bring back the beer I remember!

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Snow Cap from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 874 ratings